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AAP Statement on Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities Report

3/17/2016 by: Benard P. Dreyer, MD, FAAP, president, American Academy of Pediatrics

“The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) welcomes a new report out today from the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities (the Commission) addressing one of the most tragic, preventable outcomes of child maltreatment: child deaths. The Academy has been working closely with the Commission throughout its development of the report and championed the Protect Our Kids Act of 2012, which authorized its formation. The AAP supports the report’s overall roadmap of recommendations for Congress and the Administration to prevent child fatalities and protect especially vulnerable children from harm.

“Too many children are dying from abuse and neglect. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families estimates that more than 1,500 children died as a result of maltreatment in fiscal year 2014. Nearly three-quarters of those deaths occurred among children younger than three years old. This is an unacceptable statistic that represents a complete breakdown of children’s most basic needs. We can and must do better.

“Given the endemic nature of child maltreatment in the United States, the AAP applauds the Commission for recognizing that solutions to child maltreatment fatalities should not only target the prevention of future deaths, but also must encompass prevention of child maltreatment itself in the first place. Adverse childhood experiences, including abuse and neglect, witnessing domestic violence, parental substance abuse, parental mental health problems, and poverty are risk factors for maltreatment and contribute to lifelong negative health implications for children experiencing them. The AAP recently issued its first ever policy statement on poverty that encourages advocating for strong federal anti-poverty and safety net programs, and the Commission rightly recognizes the same need as an integral element of child abuse and neglect prevention.

“The Commission’s report maps out a series of recommendations that will inform future efforts on Capitol Hill to protect children from maltreatment and death. As Congress turns attention to reauthorizing the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act next year, and to funding efforts like improved training for mandatory reporters and supporting child death review teams, this report will serve as a critical resource to guide their efforts. The AAP thanks the Commission, and looks forward to ensuring that children’s needs are addressed and prioritized.”

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 64,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.